How to Quiet a Vampire

Cloth Text – $64.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-1719-8

Trade Paper – $18.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-1720-4
Publication Date
April 2005
Page Count
432 pages
Trim Size
5-1/2 x 8-1/2

How to Quiet a Vampire

A Sotie
Borislav Pekic

How to Quiet a Vampire is a study of terror and intellect in the tradition of Joseph Heller and George Steiner. Published to acclaim in 1977, this controversial novel of ideas follows Konrad Rutkowski, professor of medieval history and former Gestapo officer, as he returns to the scene of his war crimes determined to renounce, or perhaps justify, his Nazi past. In a series of letters, Rutkowski lays out his ambivalent reactions to war and unthinkable violence, connecting his own swirling ideas to those of the major figures of European thought: Plato, St. Augustine, Descartes, Nietzsche, Freud, and others.

But the novel is more than an intellectual meditation. Pekic was himself a frequent political agitator and occasional prisoner, and he drew on his first hand knowledge of police methods and life under totalitarianism to paint a chilling portrait of an intellectual acting as a tool of repression. At the same time he questions whether Rutkowski's ideology puts him outside the philosophical tradition he so admires--or if the line separating European thought from totalitarianism is not as clear as we like to think.

About the Author

Borislav Pekic was born in 1930 in Podgorica, Yugoslavia. Arrested in 1948 for terrorism, armed rebellion, and espionage after the theft of a few typewriters and mimeographs, Pekic spent five years in prison, where he began to write. He worked as a screenwriter and editor of a literary journal before publishing his first novel at age thirty-five. Constant trouble with the authorities led him to emigrate to London in the early 1970s. His novels include The Houses of Belgrade (1994) and The Time of Miracles (1994), both published by Northwestern University Press. He died of cancer in 1992 in London.

Stephen M. Dickey is an assistant professor of Slavic linguistics at the University of Virginia. He co-translated Meša Selimovic's Death and the Dervish (Northwestern, 1996).

Bogdan Rakic is a visiting associate professor of Slavic Literature at Indiana University. He co-translated Meša Selimovic's Death and the Dervish (Northwestern, 1996) and edited In a Foreign Harbor (Slavica, 2000). He is currently working on Borislav Pekic's literary biography.

"A dozen years after his death Borislav Pekic is acclaimed as one of the greatest writers in the Serbian language." —New York Times

"Northwestern University Press should be commended for its series Writings from an Unbound Europe, in which Pekic's novels and dozens of other first-rate works of fiction in translation from the former Communist countries of Eastern Europe have appeared and continue to appear." —New York Review of Books

"A brilliant and complex satire."  —Slavic and East European Journal